Conscious Leadership – Harboring Underperformer[s] Or Management Not Effectively Communicating?

Conscious Leadership Scenario:

Harboring Underperformers is a common term that is used loosely in the corporate world. Loosely means a mystery bag that exalts us (manager/employer) from doing the deep work – comprehension is the responsibility of management.

I’ve learned over the years of assisting Senior Executive Leadership (transformational visionary leaders) to elevate their communication styles – optimizing team performance; there is a deeper meaning to the word “underperformer.”

Leadership Fail:

Before we jump into the HR process of a performance improvement plan (PIP), let’s step back and evaluate three fundamental steps that we may have skipped.

1) Is the person (perceived underperformer) in the right role? Qualified for this role – hard skills/soft skills and meets exceeds these requirements?

2) Is the person (perceived underperformer) in a role that excites them and is motivated to excel?

3) Have we (employer/management) taken the time to assess this individual to ensure we communicate in a method that ensures they Thrive (adapt our communication style to their natural communication style)? Have we utilized the most advanced analytical tools (predictive analytics-guarantees performance) to understand better the person’s behavioral characteristics, driving forces (12 of these motivators), and emotional quotient (EQ)?

Negative Affect on Culture and Organizational Performance: 

There are a plethora of adverse effects of harboring an underperformer can have on an organization. However, keeping poor performers around is both a huge time suck for management and a profit-killer for your business.

1) Employee Morale: Poor employees can create a ripple effect throughout the entire workplace. Just one underperformer can decrease employee morale significantly and spread apprehension and anger throughout the workplace. Ultimately, this can lead to your top performers looking for employment elsewhere and reduce your employee retention rate.

2) Customer Service Quality: If your poor performers have direct contact with your customers, this problem could be dramatic. Today, just one bad experience with a customer could instantly be recounted to hundreds or thousands of other customers. This could spur a wave of customer relations problems.

3) Company Profits: The bottom line is that poor performers cost your company money. Not only is their productivity level lowered, but their bad behavior could directly affect the production level of those working around them. Also, supervisors have to spend valuable time overseeing the bad employees, correcting mistakes, or trying to boost the other workers’ morale.

Conscious Leadership Solution:

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s get back on track with ‘underperformer’ labeling OR a lack of due diligence by the employer and management to understand the role, company, and team culture where the perceived ‘underperformer’ is expected to perform daily.

The top Transformational Visionary Leadership is taking as much subjectivity and ambiguity (gut decisions) out of their communication process to lead and ensure their team is in absolute alignment.

1) Vetting of hard and soft (EQ) to ensure we are putting the ideal candidate in this role and the in-depth assessment level – how do they see themselves as a value to the organization? 

2) Utilization of performance-based analytics to ensure we communicate effectively to optimize performance and ensure this individual (perceived underperformer) success. 

a) How do they like to be communicated with? 

b) How do they not like to be communicated with? 

3) Insight into situations or environments that may cause tension or stress for this individual. Identify situations that should be avoided or minimized in a person’s day-to-day environment. By understanding the contribution of a low behavioral style, we can articulate a person’s talents better and create environments where people can be more effective. 

4) A deeper understanding of how the employee (perceived underperformer) solves problems and meets challenges, influences people, responds to the pace of the environment, and how he/she responds to rules and procedures set by others.

5) Knowing the employee’s natural and adaptive behavioral styles. Comparing these behavioral styles to areas commonly encountered in your organization. 

I have just skimmed the surface of how and why we must dig deeper to understand better the perceived underperformers in any organization. Without these deep levels of assessments to better understand the driving forces, behavioral characteristics, and EQ of each individual, there will always be a communication breakdown that costs us time [new currency], money [drives stakeholders], and effort [time waster] that can easily be avoided. 

We can only achieve an optimized organization if we are willing to make the commitment and get out of the 1950’s management style and strive to become Transformational Visionary Leaders. 

So, at Thomas & Taylor Partners, we are here to help. For us, our purpose is leadership for a better world, and we are here to help you in showing up as the leader you need to be. We are here to support you globally. We are on this journey together. This is an invitation; an invitation to join us in creating a collaborative movement: the movement that is leadership for a better world.



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